I was asked to speak on the topic: "10 Key Things to Look For in Customer Support With SaaS Vendors" at the SaaSCon 2008 event. The invitation, the phrasing of the session topic, and the radically changing demographics for the event were and remain significant indicators of the gathering force of the SaaS/Cloud tsunami -- and of the speed of development of the sea change in the industry. But there's a haunting reminder at the edges of this brave new on-demand world, an unquiet Ghost of Computing Past. The lessons we still haven't learned keep shadowing our success.
The process whereby a company selects contact center technology tools, such as a case management system, is clearly broken. The deck is stacked against success. The functionality that is most needed, that would help centers to be run effectively and profitably -- and their customers to be properly served, is not even being offered. It's time for a change, a new approach. What the industry needs is a better way to select and deploy customer contact center management technology, one that will be focused on profitability and enable authentic customer centricity.
The Cloud/Software As A Service tsunami that Microsoft's Bill Gates described as a sea-change in the high technology industry is growing ever larger. Years ago, Gates saw something gathering on the horizon that concerned him, as well it should. When all you need to access the business technology is a reliable browser, does it matter which operating system you have on your computer?
To be successful in the SaaS model, a company has to have SaaS-thinking embedded at the DNA level. The SaaS model requires profound changes in Sales, Marketing and Development -- and even more so in Support/Service. Customer Retention is the vital metric, and Support must be about productivity instead of Break/Fix.